Stephanie Santos-Diaz earned a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico, Cayey (2016). As an undergraduate student she partnered with the American Chemical Society (ACS), demonstrating a strong commitment to leadership and service through involvement in chemistry outreach events. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemistry at Purdue University. As a fellow in the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF-GRFP), Stephanie has enjoyed the opportunity to pursue her research interests related to improving the teaching and learning of chemistry in different contexts, yielding multiple academic publications.
Stephanie has conducted research related to how students understand and use mathematics in chemistry, affording the analysis of student problem-solving to support engagement in mathematical modeling. She has also led a team of researchers to investigate students’ goals and strategies for chemistry laboratory coursework, providing a space for students to voice their views, with the intent using student input to inform instruction. In an iterative feedback loop, this research has informed Stephanie’s teaching and mentoring, which has informed the research with which she engages.
Stephanie’s current research interests focus on moving learning outside the formal classroom context to increase public engagement in chemistry through outreach events. Combining qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, this work emphasizes the role of leadership in the success of chemistry outreach, characterizes the dynamic relationship between leaders and volunteers involved community events, and seeks to provide insight for the chemistry community regarding how we can improve public understanding of chemistry. This research trajectory embodies Stephanie’s experiences related to her desire to increase access to chemistry, both for underrepresented populations and for the broader community.